Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Culture shock.

What seems like a fun and easy school project has turned into a stress filled nightmare. For me. Jaysen doesn't even know he has a project yet, because I need to present him with "a plan".

I am sending out an APB to everyone for any help on this one- because I know you all are the most brilliant and creative people out there (I mean, why else would you read my blog?), in the whole entire world- maybe even universe.

Topic: Culture.

The project: Give a short presentation on your culture. Put up to 6 items pertaining to your culture in a shoebox to discuss. Decorate the box like the flag of your represented country.

The issue: Jaysen does not give a crap about culture. Unless it's in the form of a huge Q-tip gagging him, which in that case, he's crying his eyeballs out. I have an affinity for different cultures, so it has been my practice to leech off of other cultures.

If we go strictly by Jaysen's immediate family, he would be a Pagist. Add my parents and he's a Boojoogan. Add his father and he's a Pagajewathiebud. It's just too confusing. Altogether, we have an eclectic religious/spiritual mix of Pagan, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian and Athiest. Ancestry-wise, we have a mix of Israel, Poland, Russia, Germany, and Austria- to name a few.

Can he do a multi-cultural project? Technically, that's not the assignment, so would he fail? What would you put as the flag?

This sounds ridiculous, but I don't want my kid to present something that's going to cause him more grief with acceptance- especially since he's not quite giving-a-crap about it in the first place. I admit that I haven't taught him a lot about his culture (mostly because I haven't exactly just embraced one?), but what I have tried to teach him is acceptance and an appreciation for all cultures, and to find beauty and wonder in what makes them unique.

Maybe I'm having difficulty because my culture is not typical of my spiritual beliefs, and my spiritual beliefs are not typical of my culture?

Yes- culture is different from religion. I am not looking to define our spirituality- I am trying to figure out how to introduce the idea of culture to Jaysen, when I don't particularly have just one that I identify with.

Not to mention that my creativity is just tapped lately. There is nuthin' left.

So my question to you brilliantly dazzling, gorgeous and wise people...
What are some stunningly creative ideas you may have about a cultural presentation that I may blatantly steal for my son's project? We even promise to give you some sort of "credit" in the form of a shout out worked into the presentation box if we use your idea. Tempting... I know.

No pressure, but please hurry-
it's due like next week.



JoyMama said...

How 'bout...

The U.S. flag should be easy enough.

Get Jaysen to pick a bunch of things he likes -- maybe focus on holidays?

Frame the presentation around those things he likes and just define them as being from "our" culture... and leave religion wayyyy the heck out of it.

Them's my thoughts... Good luck -- and do post about what you end up doing!

Anonymous said...

Joy mama's advice is right on. Good luck!

Michelle said...

It sure seems like you and your family are immersed in the Autism Culture to me...but don't quite fit in any of the extreme camps. I'm guessing, though, this would not be the flag you want to use to promote Jaysen's acceptance into his school culture. Keep it simple. This is a blimp on the screen. You seem so creative and and resourceful, you'll be fine. Maybe you are thinking too much.

You'll do great (why sweat something he cares so little about?)

Barbara said...

I wish I could sound smarter than JoyMama, but I cannot; probably limited by my culture.

I might venture to add to her suggestion (wisely dittoed by Marla). Could his 'culture' be school?

Can you work-in the tapes he loves so much? Just to draw him in - maybe he can help with the representation of video learning of basic skills in the project.

As I recall, his school situation is pretty good this year....are you sure you got it right (1st grade?) and surely the teacher will accommodate him and you, esp if you inquire the same way you did with us.

Jamie's Mom said...

I agree with joymama's idea. The US flag on the shoebox and put in pictures of Jaysen's favorite foods, music and clothing. What is culture other than that? What we eat, how we dance and how we dress.
Good luck!

Jodi said...

What would be meaningful to Jaysen? There is the culture of his neighborhood, disability culture, there is even the culture of karate or Trekkies. You name it and it involves a culture.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

We had to do something like this recently with my son. This is what I did: picked a topic that was in line with his limited obsessive interests and warped the assignment to fit his interests. Since his interests are (fortunately) pretty well in line with second grade pop culture, his classmates loved it.

Casdok said...

No pressure! My first thought was disability culture.
But like the others have said i think JoyMama's idea is the simpist. Or pop culture could be fun?

mommy~dearest said...

Ack! That's what I was afraid of! You all are pretty much on the same page as me, but that's not the assignment!

The assignment's intent is to learn about different cultures of other countries. Research your heritage and report on that country's culture- their customs, foods, religious beliefs, clothing, etc.

That's why I'm having such a hard time with this- if it were cultural diversity in general, I would be all over that one.

I'm probably just going to pick Russia and be done with it. I really don't know how to intertwine the tape obsession into the assignment either. Unless...(and this just came to me), I can find a tape in Russian! Ah! Brilliant. Not likely, but brilliant nonetheless. We do have a Sesame Street in Hebrew, and a Tom and Jerry in Korean though... maybe I can pass Jaysen off as having Asian ancestors somewhere down the line? Hmmm.

Thank you all for your ideas, and keep 'em coming! I can almost feel the spark of inspiration igniting!

Ashley's Mom said...

I like the Russia idea. Do you have a store like World Market in your area? You might be able to find some candy or other products from Russia there, and Jaysen could share with his classmates. In elementary school, food makes one very popular :)

Ashley's Mom said...

That's a link to a russian flag - really simple and custom made for decorating a box!

Bonnie said...

You know, if you can tell me how a kid with the mentality of a 4 year old can do a project for 5th grade science in which he has to build a car and then do a thorough report about the whole thing, then I'll help you! hee hee.....

Jessica said...

I don't see anything wrong with doing American Culture and picking things he likes. That is a culture and it's where he's from. There are too many to pick and I'd go with it too. I don't think he'd fail. He'd fail if he didn't do it at all. He put in the effort and it's what they want.

Jamie's Mom said...

So, hey, did you get "your" homework done?


mommy~dearest said...

*ahem* we're working on it. We still have a couple days left. :)